Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Gorsedh Kernow


The Celtic spirit of Cornwall


St Piran’s Day Book Launch


A ground-breaking new book about bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Robert Victor Walling (1895-1976), soldier, poet, journalist and writer with a special interest in the Cornish language, is being published on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March, 100 years after its original publication and exactly 121 years after the birth of the author.


“Scryfer – R.V.Walling”, has been researched and compiled by former Grand Bard Ann Trevenen Jenkin, Bryallen, the result of months of painstaking work by several bards of Gorsedh Kernow, including Stephen Gadd, Reskadinnick, who has translated Walling’s original words and designed and produced the layout.


Encouraged by his father Robert Alfred Walling, who was also a bard, the young R V Walling had been inspired by Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language, first published in 1904.  As he lay injured in a French military hospital during the First World War, R V Walling drew on this inspiration and turned his attention to a deeper study of Cornish and while recuperating from his injuries, he produced a magazine called “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.  


“This important book is being published as a facsimilie of “An Houlsedhas” for the very first time,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and will add considerably to our broad study of the Cornish language written during the First World War.”


R V Walling was made a bard of Gorsedh Kernow in 1934 taking the bardic name Scryfer an Mor, Sea Writer.  The long awaited publication of his illustrated magazine, translated into English, has never been seen before by the general public.


“The original text has been translated by Stephen Gadd, from Camborne, a new bard living and working in London,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and he has worked extremely diligently on what has been a fascinating but sometimes difficult project.”


“This ground-breaking book is a valuable addition to other documents in the Cornish language,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey,“and Gorsedh Kernow, along with the Cornish Language Board, is very proud to support its publication.”


“Skryfer – R V Walling” will be launched by Jori Ansell, Caradok, past Grand Bardof Gorsedh Kernow and currentChairman ofthe recently launched Cornish Language Academy, at 6pm at Camborne Rugby Club, on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March 2016.





Members of the press are welcome to attend the book launch in Camborne Rugby Club.  Kindly send your acceptance to Ann Trevenen Jenkin by email to pellgowser@btinternet.com  or tel 01736 850332  from whom you can also request further information about “Skryfer - R V Walling”.


“Scryfer - R.V.Walling,” A5 format, with some colour illustrations and black and white photographs, price £9.99 + postage. (Costs with postage: UK £11.50; Europe £15.00; rest of world £17.50.)  Copies of the book may be ordered and paid for in advance from Ann Trevenen Jenkin (see details above) or collected from the launch itself on 5th March or from other Gorsedh Kernow or Cornish language events during the year, where they will also be on sale.


R V Walling had a distinguished career as a journalist, interrupted by war service.  He was wounded at Passchendale and invalided out of the army.  In 1916-17, while recuperating from his injuries, he produced the magazine “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.  There are three unfinished issues, each accompanied by his watercolour drawings.


There is a moving article in “Skryfer – R V Walling” by bard Tim Saunders, Bardh Gwerin, on his recollections of R V Walling, and a detailed biography by Ann Trevenen Jenkin,who compiled the book with the valuable help of Stephen Gadd, Mark Dungey, Donsyor Lanust and Esther Johns, Tamm Steren. There are several appendices, giving the flavour of Robert Walling’s writings, and the essence of his time.


R A J and R V Walling’s letters and correspondence, R V W's military handbooks, booklets on journalism, press cuttings books, newspapers, material relating to the First World War, Plymouth Corporation Grammar School Debating and Literary Society minutes and school magazines, Parliamentary elections pamphlets and reports, and miscellaneous items are all held for research at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.


For further information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact

Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,

email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk  or tel  01736 799305

or visit our website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk





The Celtic spirit of Cornwall


Let’s celebrate real Cornish cultural identity says Grand Bard of Cornwall


“Newquay is a town very close to my heart which has a proud place in Cornwall’s story. Although it has been a major tourist destination for more than a century it still maintains a proud local tradition of celebrating its Cornishness through culture and heritage while extending a warm welcome to those who come from elsewhere.”


With these heartfelt words in mind Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall and passionate Cornishman, prepares to deliver his short address to Newquay’s townspeople and visitors on behalf of the bards of Gorsedh Kernow who will gather in the Killacourt for their annual Proclamation ceremony on Saturday 21st April.


“Despite the obvious importance of our culture and heritage it is constantly under threat” the Grand Bard will say, “and yet more and more we realise that these are essential for our own future sustainability.”


The Grand Bard is expected to challenge once again the status quo by calling on HM Government to honour its commitment to the protection delivered by legislation.  He will also urge Cornwall Council to recognise more fully the role of culture in our future lives.


“The importance of the work-life balance is universally recognised within many sectors” the Grand Bard will say, “and we know that culture and environment are key factors in helping people to achieve this balance and therefore the key to sustainability, a sense of well being and community.”


Proudly representing the town, the Mayor of Newquay, Cllr Margaret North will welcome Gorsedh Kernow and formally invite the gathering of blue robed bards to hold their bardic ceremony and Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture in Newquay later in the year.


“Newquay is a symbol of modern Cornwall where we respect and celebrate the past at the same time as embracing the new and the opportunities of the future,” Merv Davey will say, “and on behalf of all my fellow bards I am delighted to accept this kind invitation from the Mayor and townspeople of Newquay.”








St Piran's Granite Sculpture



If you have been following local news you will be well aware that the incredible granite sculpture of St Piran has now been completed by sculptors David Paton and Stephane Rouget. At a height of 3.8m (12.5 feet) & weighing 6 tonnes, this sculpture will be a sight to behold.


In mid May, St Piran will be making his way to the Vallée des Saints in Brittany and will be the 100th sculpture to be added, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the project. The new statue will be unveiled at a special ceremony on 29th July and GK will be represented by Bardh Meur and several fellow bards.


However, many of us cannot go to Brittany.  The sculpture will be transported from Mabe Quarry to Falmouth Custom House Quay on the afternoon of Saturday 5th May and Stephane Rouget has been arranging a procession through the town which will follow a steam engine and the sculpture.  He has asked if a group of bards could take part in the procession, along with as many organisations as he is able to persuade!


Can you let me know if this is something you would take part in please?  It will NOT be a robed event but we are hoping for banners. We also hope that Keur Heb Hanow might be available.


Please share this email to fellow bards as appropriate.  I have used blind copy for my fairly random selection of names that I contact regularly.


Delia Brotherton

Myrghwyn Melynor

Hon Secretary







Bardh Meur Launceston 2017 (1)

Bardh Meur Launceston 2017

Unless stated otherwise, photographs by Ivor Corkell


The Celtic spirit of Cornwall

Joint Press Release by Gorsedh Kernow and Newquay Town Council


Gorsedh Kernow announces host town for 2018


“Newquay is now a very popular holiday destination in the UK but it had a long history before tourism,” said the Grand Bard of Cornwall, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, “and with the remains of prehistoric burial grounds on both the Barrowfields and Trevelgue Head, plus evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age dwellings, we know that people have lived and worked here for thousands of years.”


The Grand Bard’s words were spoken as a joint declaration with town mayor Cllr Margaret North that Newquay, on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast, would host the 2018 Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture and bardic ceremony.


“We are delighted that the bards of the Cornish Gorsedd have accepted our invitation to hold their celebrations here next year,” said Cllr North, “and we are proud that history shows that our town was an important hub for Cornwall’s then main industries of mining, fishing and agriculture.”


Accepting the invitation on behalf of fellow bards, Dr Daveyexpressed a wish for openness and inclusiveness among Cornish people as they grapple with the issues facing a modern Cornwall whilst at the same time celebrating their distinct cultural identity.


“I come from an old Newquay family who have always been proud of both Newquay’s heritage and ability to embrace the new” said the Grand Bard.


“My Grandfather was a keen local historian and a strong supporter of Gorsedh Kernow and would be delighted to see the ceremony being held at Newquay.”


“These days Newquay is firmly established in the world of top class surfing with our famous Fistral and Watergate beaches,” said mayor Cllr Margaret North, “and we are also a contender for obtaining a licence to operate as a Spaceport, but we are immensely proud of our Cornish roots and look forward to welcoming members of the College of Bards to our town.”